Volume 554, June 2013
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Published online||17 June 2013|
HAWK-I infrared supernova search in starburst galaxies⋆
Department of Astronomy, Padova University,
Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 3,
2 INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
3 INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Salita Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy
4 INAF, Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Enrico Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
5 Departamento de Ciencias Fisicas, Universidad Andrés Bello, Av. República 252, 8320000 Santiago, Chile
6 Institut de Ciéncies de l’Espai (IEEC–CSIC), Facultat de Ciéncies, Campus UAB, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
Accepted: 14 March 2013
Context. The use of SN rates to probe explosion scenarios and to trace the cosmic star formation history received a boost from a number of synoptic surveys. There has been a recent claim of a mismatch by a factor of two between star formation and core collapse SN rates, and different explanations have been proposed for this discrepancy.
Aims. We attempted an independent test of the relation between star formation and supernova rates in the extreme environment of starburst galaxies, where both star formation and extinction are extremely high.
Methods. To this aim we conducted an infrared supernova search in a sample of local starbursts galaxies. The rationale behind searching in the infrared is to reduce the bias due to extinction, which is one of the putative reasons for the observed discrepancy between star formation and supernova rates. To evaluate the outcome of the search we developed a MonteCarlo simulation tool that is used to predict the number and properties of the expected supernovae based on the search characteristics and the current understanding of starburst galaxies and supernovae.
Results. During the search we discovered 6 supernovae (4 with spectroscopic classification), which is in excellent agreement with the prediction of the MonteCarlo simulation tool that is, on average, 5.3 ± 2.3 events.
Conclusions. The number of supernovae detected in starburst galaxies is consistent with what is predicted from their high star formation rate when we recognize that a major fraction (~ 60%) of the events remain hidden in the inaccessible, high-density nuclear regions because of a combination of reduced search efficiency and high extinction.
Key words: supernovae: general / galaxies: starburst / galaxies: star formation / infrared: galaxies / infrared: stars
© ESO, 2013
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